Is solar a viable alternative to a backup generator?

Question

Is solar a viable alternative to a backup generator?

Asked by Helen J McCoy

I live in northeast Arkansas. Can I use solar panels and battery storage as a viable alternative to having a gas powered generator for emergencies?

Answer this question

Answers

Harold Remlinger, AIA, LEED AP, NCARB's picture

Using solar with a battery back-up is a costly alternative to a gas powered generator.

  • Each battery costs in the neighborhood of $450-$500.
  • Depending on the load of the critical circuits, your home could require 20 to even 40 batteries.

Also this may only give you up to 16-18 hours of backup power.

Keep in mind too that batteries are also not permanent and have to be replaced. The average life expectancy is only 5 years if maintained properly.

If you have the capabilities, installing a natural gas generator is a better option to a gasoline powered generator.